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Orleans moving forward with Route 12 water project

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LAFARGEVILLE — For the past several years, the town of Orleans has been trying to bring potable water to Route 12 residents whose wells have been contaminated by salt.

And although it’s a small step, the town finally is moving forward with the preconstruction engineering phase with a $500,000 Empire State Development grant.

Orleans Supervisor Kevin C. Rarick said the grant will allow the town engineer, Fourth Coast Inc., Clayton, to design the proposed water system so the town has a starting point on the estimated $10.8 million project along Route 12.

Fourth Coast engineers have said the scope of the project ultimately will depend on funding availability for the actual construction.

Mr. Rarick said that even if the project is split into phases, the town needs to start out “shooting for the moon” — aiming as high as it can to try to serve as many people as possible.

If the town can find funding for the project in one fell swoop, the Route 12 Water District would bring municipal water to roughly 500 housing units between Collins Landing and Fishers Landing.

Collins Landing in particular has long been plagued by salt contamination originating from runoff at a nearby state Department of Transportation maintenance facility.

Residents, who were made aware of the issue in 2002, suspect that road salt had been seeping slowly into the ground and contaminating wells for decades.

While DOT has been providing affected property owners with bottled water as a short-term fix, local officials have been pressuring the department to “chip in” for the project, to no avail.

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